Jason Gordon: The Future Is Broken
The lady in the moon
looks pissed. The clouds
of her breath chase
cars into the lake.
The salmon swim backwards
The future is broken
Fighter jets disguised as geese assume their checkmark formation
The clouds sink like battleships into the grass
O say can you pee, laughs my inner-child, peeing
Not so funny to the outer-child, prostate swollen, back hair gathering frost
A rose of butter hardens
The beehives die, the snails ask questions
My eye isn’t naked,
it wears tiny shoes.
It dances all night
in a puddle of merlot.
Not drunk, not a stone
with quartz teeth
biting the dentist.
This isn’t a love poem.
The TV is off, the screen
is a mirror. The dead
leap from clouds shaped like airliners—
falling bodies of rain
I hate rain. I sink through
hours of darkness, passing only
the occasional neon jellyfish.
My bed lands on the moon,
the moon lands on my bed.
It doesn’t matter. A cloud
coughs down the door.
I weep, pull a dark quilt
of porn over my eyes.
The dog eats me. Showers
melt the town I grew up in:
the idiot weatherman, his umbrella
opening, closing itself at will
It’s still December still July
a blue cloud walks a dog across the lake
my hands fall off
I glue them back on
my head falls off
I warm it in the oven
I no longer exist I will
exist again tomorrow
I can’t remember
my name can you
remember my name?
it’s cold in the microwave
The pillow swallows my head
but my mind with its tentacles
of blue light rests in a nest
of crumpling un-crumpling poems
or it sits on the tv and stares at
the tree growing out of the sofa
it doesn’t wear pants it can’t
think or hum songs from the 80s
too much not enough
too asleep too awake
it can’t decide
Even dogs have feelings even fleas
but fleas are not important
the Stanley Cup is important
energy drinks are important
lighter fluid is important it makes
fire for smoking pot and pot is
important God is important
he has feelings he has blue
fleas in his beard this isn’t
the 60s or it is he can’t tell
time his bones dance on the sea
You steal my hubcaps
I buy them back
you eat a peach
with a fork made of blood
it’s an old heart it weeps
each tear is a seed
or a metaphor for something maybe
love or the sadness of trees
leaves shaped like hands
hands shaped like leaves
your hubcaps my hubcaps
it’s a roadmap crumpling
un-crumpling in the dark
I try not to explode
or microwave the dog
but sometimes the universe
is fucked-up static
a blizzard of stars
so dead it’s alive
and infested with clouds
angry clouds full of lightning and snow
the lawn I try not
to snort them I try
The window is open, just enough
to let the wind come in,
toss some old receipts on the floor,
chase the cat from the bedroom,
turn on the TV. The rest of the house
is asleep, a dream passing from room
to room like a swarm of ghost bees.
It’s a sad dream, one that’s survived
hundreds of years, feeding on dead mice
and the occasional lost tennis shoe.
Every wall is a different shade of static.
Sleep provides energy for the day’s undertakings
such as shopping for a new spice rack
or chiseling cat mucus off the kitchen floor with a butter knife,
but come nightfall that energy funnels down the cosmic drain
into a dimension where we are all statues
and our voices are red birds that fly from our mouths.
I sit alone in my cave trying to write poetry but
all that comes from my brain is
nonsense: a white bib forgetting
its own tragic lullaby, some shiny butter snails,
a villa sketched by madmen
pounded into a small cube, then one night
a bright slit appears in the sky
and out spew the stars
followed by pink clouds of dust
inside which angels are born like
corn popping in the microwave.
It’s stupid to believe in miracles.
If threatened, an angel will fall from the sky,
not a sky you want on a picnic
this sky will bite off your leg!
So can there be joy?
The cervix melts like butter,
the baby oozes out.
I love the beach even though it’s a giant litter box/ashtray.
Ocean noise sounds like radio static, the womb
minus the bass drum of mother’s heartbeat.
Sometimes the sand burns my feet but
have you been to the beach when it’s cold,
wind blowing out the birthday cakes
in your eyes? It’s not Dorothy’s Kansas
or the bingo hall of the underworld it’s
a postcard written by statues, something wrong
with the clouds so the weatherman unscrambles eggs on his desk.
Is this how the world ends, angels inside us
multiplying like viruses, microwaving our bones?
We burn our inner-children, feed our laundry to the moon,
die asleep on memory foam. No one remembers.
You press the up button, the elevator never arrives.
Is the lobby all that exists
or is there a malfunction in the heavens,
a hand-shaped weed poking up through the sidewalk?
Pain rises from deep inside the earth.
Mirrors shatter, reading glasses on the floor
like stepped-on grasshoppers. So what’s
an old book to do? Swallow a hurricane?
If one writes a book on this side of the mirror
on the other side there must exist the opposite of that book—
a book you can read in the dark, a bookmade of snow. The roller coasters untangle themselves.
a book you can read in the dark, a book
made of snow. The roller coasters untangle themselves.
The angel in the phone line swims backwards. I’ve un-dreamt my life: half dead, half drunk. One morning I’m a cloud in my father’s belly; the next a ghost, a spray of cologne. The scent of the moon making love to the sea. The scent of two storms making love on the beach. I can’t decide. The angel swims forwards, backwards at the speed of darkness. The more I drink, the louder the dial tone.
I’m born I’m unborn
I’m born again
I’m dead I’m undead
I splash coffee on my face, drink a bottle of mouthwash for breakfast
I ejaculate my sorrows into the sink
Into the sea
Sperm the size of whales, whales the size of sperm
I love I hate I love myself
I love my father I hate my father
I am my father
Whales in my belly
God in my beard
I can’t sleep; I’m becoming
an owl, an owl with moon-eyes,
an owl who eats pizza for breakfast,
cold pizza with mushrooms of blood.
I disassemble the cuckoo clock
in its nest of brass twigs.
Ghosts piss my name in the snow.
Editor's Note: These poems appeared on our old site.
Jason Gordon received an MFA from the University of Maryland, as well as a scholarship to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. His poems have appeared in Abbey, Bathtub Gin, the Delmarva Review, Poetry International, and Presa, among others. His first chapbook, I Stole a Briefcase, was published by Pudding House Press in 2008. Currently, he lives in Catonsville, Maryland. He teaches English at a middle school for children with dyslexia.